Go from Tampa to Key West by car in two days! Visit unique places and beautiful beaches alongside the route! Have the best road trip experience of your life! #travel #florida #usa #thingstodo #roadtrip

Tampa To Key West By Car – Places You Have To Visit

Tampa To Key West By Car – Places You Have To Visit

Have you ever dreamt about a road trip through Florida? If not, you might start dreaming about it now! The following route is a sample route that I drove during my Florida trip! Go from Tampa to Key West by car and visit unique locations and beautiful places you have to visit!

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Go on a Florida road trip and drive from Tampa to Key West! Minimum two days or extend that trip to a fe more days! Make it the best vacation you've ever had! #travel #florida #usa #thingstodo #naples #fortmyers #bradentonbeach #everglades

Florida – Tampa To Key West By Car And The Places You Have To Visit

When I made my Florida road trip, me and my friend, who joined me this time, we planned two days for going from Tampa to Key West! Please be aware that if you want to do EVERYTHING, you might need a bit longer! It´s so easy to stretch the time over a few days if you’re going to spend some time at all these places! If you like, you could also do a separate road trip doing all this!

However, follow me, and let´s see where you would like to stop, stay, or skip! 

Bradenton Beach

Leaving Tampa* and head straight to the ocean. Take the I-75 and then turn to 789 and follow the sea for a while, instead of taking the inner route. The other way would be faster, but if you want to see something and make an island-hopping, then I´d suggest following the ocean route!

Did you know that Florida has another has more Keys on this side of the state? Not only the ones down to Key West! Well, that´s why I took the island route!

Passing Bradenton and driving to Bradenton Beach*. It´s the perfect opportunity for a first stop and to stretch your legs at one of the beautiful beaches in the Gulf of Mexico. The white sand and the turquoise water won´t disappoint you.

Go from Welcome to Bradenton Beach! Drive from Tampa to Key West! #travel #florida #usa #thingstodo #roadtrip Go from Tampa to Key West by car and stop at Bradenton Beach Pier! #travel #florida #usa #thingstodo #roadtrip

Bradenton Beach is the first stop on the drive from Tampa to Key West! #travel #florida #usa #vacation #roadtrip Bradenton Beach is the first stop on the drive from Tampa to Key West! #travel #florida #usa #thingstodo #roadtrip

Anna Maria Island

If you have enough time, make a detour to Anna Maria, and stay for a while at one of the gorgeous beaches in Florida. A seven-mile-long gem surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay, Anna Maria Sound, and Sarasota Bay.

The “Other” Keys Of Florida

After Bradenton Beach, or maybe you made it to Anna Maria, continue driving southbound. Now, you´re in the middle of the “other” Florida Keys, like Longboat Key or Lido Key, before the route leads you to Sarasota. All with beautiful beaches. 

If you like to wonder about sea life, the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium would be a good possibility for a visit.


Are you hungry already? I believe Sarasota is quite a good chance to grab something to eat before you continue the journey! What about trying some Amish at Yoder´s or Der Dutchman, a real pie and dessert heaven!

Siesta Key

From Sarasota, I´d recommend visiting one more Key. Siesta Key is officially America’s best beach! The unique sand doesn´t get hot in the sun because of its pure quartz, which makes this beach so attractive, also in the warm summer months.

The Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41)

However, when you leave Siesta Key, you´ll hit one of Florida´s Scenic Byways, the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41). Once again, this route might be a bit longer and slower than the fast four-lane I-75, but it´s for sure the more beautiful one! Do you want to know more about the Tamiami Trail and what to see where? Visit the Florida Rambler and read through the article Tamiami Trail: Scenic drive exploring Everglades.”

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Fort Myers

Approx one and a half to two hours later, depending on how often you stop, you´ll arrive in Fort Myers. As I said before, it´s a bit faster when you don´t take the Tamiami Trail.

So my travel buddy and I followed that route to the south until we arrived in Fort Myers, where we stayed for our lunch break. A delicious meal, we have found in a unique restaurant and bar, Ford´s Garage.

I haven´t seen such a crazy interior in a restaurant for a while. I loved it so much, and I could not get enough of it, Ford´s Garage, where the sinks are out of tires and the door openers out of gas station nozzles.

Florida - Tampa to Key West - Fort Myers - Ford´s Garage #wheretoeat #travel #usa #thingstodo #roadtrip

Of course, if you plan more than two days for the entire trip, you can stay a bit longer, even days longer, exploring the city and surroundings. Like Sanibel Island, Pine Island, Matlacha, Fort Myers Beach, or Cape Coral, all of them are worth a visit!

If you want to stay in this area for a while and want to live in a unique location, try the tiny homes in Matlacha Tiny Village*!


So after our lunch break, which gave us back some energy, we jumped back on the road and headed straight to Naples*. It was already late, but we arrived at the motel the right time for having a little walk to the beach and enjoy a breathtaking sunset. I love the sun, especially when it meets the ocean, no matter if sunrise or sunset. I would recommend staying here overnight and enjoy the nightlife in Naples.

Stay in Naples, Florida when driving from Tampa to Key West and enjoy watching those beautiful sunsets! Stay for a weekend or just a night! #travel #florida #usa #thingstodo #roadtrip

While we watched the sunset, we strolled the beach and explored the 5th avenue of Old Naples.

The 5th avenue is lined with mansions, tall palm, and banyan trees. When you walk the street up, you will find a lot of restaurants where you could sit, chat, and eat and enjoy a warm night with a slight summer breeze.

Once again, you could easily stay here for a couple of days or a weekend! Visit Tin City and find some long-forgotten antique gems and handmade goods on this open-air market. Go there later the evening, grab a drink, and sit by the sea and enjoy it!

Stroll the Avenues! Third and Fifth are probably the most popular ones! And don´t forget to watch the sunset from the pier or the beach! Or what about a Sunset Cruise*

Stay in Naples, Florida when going from Tampa to Key West by car and enjoy strolling Third and Fifth Avenue! Stay for a weekend or just a night! #travel #florida #usa #thingstodo #roadtrip Stay in Naples, Florida when going from Tampa to Key West by car and enjoy strolling Third and Fifth Avenue! Stay for a weekend or just a night! #travel #florida #usa #thingstodo #roadtrip


This part of the tour is at least as long as the one from Day 1. About four and a half hours from Naples to Key West if you don´t stop anywhere! But you drive right through the Everglades, and if you´re in Florida, this is a must-do anyways!

The Tamiami Trail leads you through the Everglades, so the only thing you need to do is follow the route!

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Some of the free and inexpensive highlights in the Everglades are the Turner River Road to Upper Wagonwheel Road to Birdon Road, Kirby Storter boardwalk and picnic area, or the post office in downtown Ochopee, and Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk.

As always, if you like to explore more, you should take the time and stay here for a while! But keep in mind that it´s still a way to go to Key West!

For our trip, we decided to skip the Everglades entirely. We have seen so many incredible animals like alligators, all kinds of birds, manatees and many more. So that we were happy with what we have seen in Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg.

We preferred to arrive as early as possible in Key West to have an evening stroll on Duvall Street and have a relaxed night.

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Go on a Florida road trip and drive from Tampa to Key West! Minimum two days or extend that trip to a fe more days! Make it the best vacation you've ever had! #travel #florida #usa #thingstodo #naples #fortmyers #bradentonbeach #everglades

Well, that´s it! Two days for going from Tampa to Key West by car, stopping here and there, and visiting some awesome places!

What do you think? Would you go on a Florida road trip?

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38 thoughts on “Tampa To Key West By Car – Places You Have To Visit”

  1. Naples looks like such a beautiful place! Love your pictures – I love it too when the sun meets the ocean, but for me, it better be sunset ‘coz I can’t wake up early!

  2. Goodness the Tampa area is just soooo gorgeous with all those bright blue seas and sunsets! Driving this routes sounds way more fun that flying!!

  3. Wow, the water on the beaches look so incredible! I wish I had driven into Key West instead of flying. We had such a lovely trip but flying OUT of the place was a nightmare!

  4. This looks like such an awesome road trip! I’ve been to Key West for New Years Eve and loved everything about it but haven’t been anywhere on the inside part of Florida. Next time I’m in Florida I really want to do this drive!

  5. I had no idea there were other keys in Florida, I’d only ever heard of Key West! Love this road trip guide, thanks for sharing! I go to Florida every year I love new road trip ideas!

  6. I am so glad you posted this. We keep talking about going to the Keys but the direct flights are so expensive. We have considered flying into Tampa since it is so much cheaper. I will definitely be saving your post!

  7. You stopped by my town! I live in Naples and it’s always nice to see through a visitor’s eye. Glad you’re loving Florida! 🙂

  8. My husband would love to do a road trip but in the west coast. Looks like you had a really nice time

    1. Hey Mav, I did have a good time. Thank you. If you are looking for some Westcoast inspiration come you could back later. I´ve been there as well and I want to write about that time, too.

  9. I haven’t been to Florida yet but when I will go, I will check again your post. i love your photos and how you organised them 🙂

    1. Thank you Andrada, I try my best and hopefully get better and better with any new post. Feedback is always welcome! 🙂

    1. Absolutely CindyRina, I was stunned by the whole interior. I wish I would have taken a couple of more pictures. If you want to see more, I guess, you have to go there one day 😀
      Thanks for stopping by!

  10. I love the white sand of Bradenton beach. Looks like a great place to relax. Ford’s garage is real whacky. Love the ambience :). Sunset on a beach is something else, isn’t it ?

  11. I love it, it is our dream to do a road trip around America and your blog has some very good tips and information. I will definitely come back to see more 😀

    1. Awesome! I´m happy that you like it. I have travelled a lot through the states in the past three years. East, West, Great Lakes, a National Park Tour and I have a lot more stories to tell. I will do so step by step. I will offer a Newsletter option to subscribe and get informed about new posts etc. soon. Feel free to come around again for that, too. 🙂

  12. I really hope I could also come to Florida to witness such beauty! Thanks for taking me there even it is just through this photos! 🙂

  13. Florida has always been one of my dream destinations. Great blog post and photos, especially your Bradenton Beach photos 🙂

    1. Sab, Florida is indeed a lovely place to visit, especially when you are looking for sun, beach and ocean.

  14. Your pictures are stunning! I’ve never been to Florida but this article is definitely making me want to visit. Great post!

    1. Thanks a lot Danielle. This part of Florida is definitely special. We were lucky to get to the beach right in time for sunset.

  15. Your pictures are beautiful! I have been to Florida several times, but I’ve never been to the Tampa area. Now I want to go! I love going to interesting restaurants, too, so I would probably like Ford’s Garage. Sounds like a great trip!

    1. Thanks a lot Stacy! Ford´s Garage is definitely worth a visit. Not only the interior is unique with a lot of attention to details but also the food was very good.

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